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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Professor Eisner explains comic books as sequential art
"Comics & Sequential Art" is based on a course Will Eisner taught at New York's School of Visual Art although originally this work was written as a series of essays that appeared randomly in "The Spirit" magazine. Eisner provides a guide book to the "principles & practice of the world's most popular art form, and while it is of interest...
Published on Jan. 28 2004 by Amazon Customer

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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars pretty good for beginners...
I rank this book at the same level as Understanding Comics. Both are good texts for the novice or someone with little knowledge of how panels, pacing, etc. function. However, for someone really serious about getting into comics I would suggest books such as The Five C's of Cinematography (as well as books dealing with the understanding of basic storytelling from...
Published on June 30 2002


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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Professor Eisner explains comic books as sequential art, Jan. 28 2004
By 
Amazon Customer (The Zenith City, Duluth, Minnesota) - See all my reviews
(HALL OF FAME)    (TOP 500 REVIEWER)   
"Comics & Sequential Art" is based on a course Will Eisner taught at New York's School of Visual Art although originally this work was written as a series of essays that appeared randomly in "The Spirit" magazine. Eisner provides a guide book to the "principles & practice of the world's most popular art form, and while it is of interest to those of us who read comic books it is clearly intended to be of use to aspiring comic book artists (and writers, albeit to a lesser degree). One way of measuring the book's success is to note that I have the 24th printing of a work that was first published in 1985 (and expanded in 1990 to include print and computer), but then the fact that the book was written by Eisner and uses dozens of examples of his own art work to evidence his points, as well as drawings down specifically for the book, is enough to tell you this is something special.
There are eight lessons in Professor Eisner's syllabus: (1) Comics as a Form of Reading looks at the interplay of word and image in comic books that has created a cross-breeding of illustration and prose, including the idea of how text can be read as image, which shows the sense of detail Eisner brings to his subject. (2) Imagery begins with the idea of letters as images and develops a notion of how the "pictograph" functions in the modern comic strip as a calligraphic style variation. The key subject here is that of images without words. (3) "Timing" considers the phenomenon of duration and its experience as an integral dimension of sequential art, with Eisner drawing (literally) a distinction between "time" and "timing." This chapter looks at framing speech and framing time, with Eisner making his points in the textual part of the chapter and then providing a series of comic book pages evidencing different features he wants to emphasize. (4) The Frame is a major chapter that examines in detail the sequences segments called panels or frames, with Eisner emphasizing the idea that these frames do not correspond exactly to cinematic frames because they are part of the creative process and not the result of the technology. Eisner examines encapsulation, the panel as a medium of control, creating the panel, the panel as container, the "language" of the panel border, the frame as a narrative device, the frame as a structural support, the panel outline, the emotional function of the frame, the "splash" page, the page as a meta panel, the super-panel as a page, panel composition, the function of perspective, and realism and perspective. This chapter is not half the book, but it is close, and it basically tells you everything you ever wanted to know about a panel in a comic book. When you are taking into account the meaning of the border of the panel, then you know this is a comprehensive examination of the subject under discussion.
The rest of the book deals with what you put in those panels: (5) Expressive Anatomy provides a micro-Dictionary of Gestures before covering your options in drawing the body, the face, and the body and the face. As an extended example Eisner provides his complete "Hamlet on a Rooftop," which does the "To be, or not to be" soliloquy. (6) Writing & Sequential Art talks about the relationship between the writer and the artist (whether they are two separate people or not), and various story telling elements. There are several choice examples on the application of words and the various ways then can add meaning to a series of panels, and practical examples of how writers and artists work together to create comic book stories. (7) Application (The Use of Sequential Art) makes a distinction between the functions of sequential art as instruction and as entertainment. This leads to a discussion of not only the graphic novel and technical instruction comics, but story boarding for commercials and films as well. (8) Teaching/Learning, Sequential Art for Comics in the Print and Computer Era lays out the range of diverse disciplines involved in comic books, laid out in a structured typology (categorized under psychology, physics, mechanics, design language and draftsmanship). Eisner also briefly shows what adding a computer to the process means for creating comic books.
There is an inevitable comparison to be drawn between Eisner's "Comics & Sequential Art" and Scott McCloud's "Understanding Comics: The Invisible Art," but I really see the two books as being complementary. Although you obviously can shift back and forth between perspectives, McCloud is looking at the medium from the reader's point of view and Eisner is more concerned with the creative process. Eisner has praised McCloud's book as "a landmark dissection and intellectual consideration of comics as a valid medium," which is a fundamental assumption of Eisner's work here. The primary value of "Comics & Sequential Art" is for professional and amateur artist, but students and teachers, and even mere comic book fans, can benefit from a serious and comprehensive examination of the art of funny books.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Comics Pro Gives It A Thumbs UP!, Jan. 28 2003
By 
D. Robertson (Napa, Ca) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
As a veteran comic book illustrator (You can find my work here on Amazon.com; I am the CO-creator and artist of Transmetropolitan), I am often asked to recommend books to aspiring professionals in comic book illustration. In that case I always enthusiastically recommend any of Eisner's instructional books as essential reading for anyone serious about their craft and dreams of getting into the industry.
From the earliest work of his career, Will Eisner was an innovator in writing as well as illustration. Even in his twilight years the man is still a vigorous and creative artist producing work that pros as well as fans can't wait to get their hands on.
These books display his genius in an entertaining and easy to follow method, and if put to practice will inspire and reveal hidden keys to making your work truly professional grade. A great companion book to Eisner's "Graphic Storytelling".
- Darick Roberston
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Lots of useful tips, techniques and insight, Feb. 12 2009
By 
Parka (Singapore) - See all my reviews
(TOP 50 REVIEWER)    (HALL OF FAME)   
This review is from: Comics And Sequential Art (Paperback)
Length:: 0:13 Mins

The book focuses on the creation of comics and the various techniques one can use. Specifically, it talks about the why the techniques work and the concepts behind. The various lessons touch on timing, framing, composition, expressive anatomy, writing for comics and other application of comics.

Every page of comics included that serve as examples come with captions. They explain the effect to achieve on readers. One example would be to tilt a composition of a moving train to simulate the rocking on the tracks.

How Will Eisner uses his panels and framing is amazing. He can use doorways or windows on a plane as frames, and he can so easily blend his panels together using the environment. Paneling and pacing when done right really just enhances the story. You'll see and understand why it works. It's all explained.

This book will serve as a very good introduction to comic artists. Professionals might learn some new ways of doing things too.

There are more pictures of the book on my blog. Just visit my Amazon profile for the link.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars pretty good for beginners..., June 30 2002
By A Customer
I rank this book at the same level as Understanding Comics. Both are good texts for the novice or someone with little knowledge of how panels, pacing, etc. function. However, for someone really serious about getting into comics I would suggest books such as The Five C's of Cinematography (as well as books dealing with the understanding of basic storytelling from scriptwriting to crafting short stories) and any of the reprints of Alex Toth's various comics work. What these influences add are both a better understanding of specific types of shots and framing (both Eisner and McCloud strike me as too vague) and an understanding of how and why comicbooks adhere to certain principles of filmaking (both in terms of layout and storytelling) and still must adhere to the limitations and advantages of the printed page, which Toth handles masterfully.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Heavily Illustrated Essays about How Comics and Sequential Art Communicate, July 29 2008
By 
Donald Mitchell "Jesus Loves You!" (Thanks for Providing My Reviews over 124,000 Helpful Votes Globally) - See all my reviews
(#1 HALL OF FAME)    (TOP 50 REVIEWER)   
My guess is that a hundred people have heard of this work for every one who has actually read it. At the time the book was developed, you could only find this information by taking Will Eisner's class at the New York School of Visual Art.

Unless you haven't been paying attention to comics, you will probably find that you already understand most of the key messages: words and illustrations combine to form imagery; time elapses between panels and the pacing of the time involved affects how you react to the story; the frames around the panels and pages as a mechanism for tying the story together; using anatomy and expression to extract emotion from readers; how to combine words and illustrations for best effect; the potential to use sequential art in more than comic strips and books; and new technologies for making comics and sequential art.

As for me, the only section that I found rewarding was the extensive middle section on panels. Maybe I'm obtuse (I probably am), but I've often found it difficult to follow and understand the choice of panel structure on pages in Golden age comics. Mr. Eisner thoughtfully provides extended sections from The Spirit to demonstrate why he made the choices he did and what he hoped to accomplish. It was like a Rosetta Stone for translating what some of those odd pages are supposed to do. For that section, it was worth reading the book. The other sections I could have skipped and not missed anything.

I also recommend you read Scott McCloud book's about comics and sequential art: They are more rewarding in terms of setting out the issues and opportunities.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Simply the Best Advice, from One of the Greatest, March 10 2001
Will Eisner either invented or refined most of the techniques of storytelling that "modern" comics depend on.
Before this book, one way to learn How To Write And Draw Comics was to read, if you could find it, the entire run of Eisner's incredible "Spirit", which, fifty years after it ended, is still one of the most incredible examples of sheer bravado virtuosity in the medium.
Since this book's publication, the "read the 'Spirit'" method -- while still, probably, the most pleasurable way to study -- is no longer the best. Now the best way to really *learn* how and why comics work is to get this book,and to allow one of the true masters of the craft to share with you his sixty-plus years' worth of experience and innovation.
Learn how and why comics resemble film - and why they don't. Learn pacing, narrative and page beakdowns.
It's almost like having Eisner himself standing there, pointing out what to do and what not to do.
And anyone who thinks that Eisner must be irrelevant to comics because his most famous work was so long ago need look no further than the splash page of the fourth issue of DC's "Harley Quinn" (March 2001)... nor past the ending of the same comic, which subtly pays tribute to the "Spirit" story about an ordinary man named Gerhard Schnobble -- the one that Eisner has called his own favourite of the strip's entire run.
You want to do comics and you don't have access to professional training?
Buy this book.
You want to do comics and you "do* have access to professional training?
Buy this book, anyway..
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5.0 out of 5 stars INDESPENSIBLE EXAMINATION OF THE ART OF COMICS, Dec 23 2000
By 
Zorikh Lequidre "Zorikh" (Brooklyn, NY) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
INDISPENSIBLE HOW-TO BOOK THAT REALLY STUDIES THE MEDIUM Reviewer: Zorikh Lequidre from Brooklyn, NY Before this book came out, most "how to draw comics" books were mostly concentrated on big, muscular heroes and action poses. There was very little emphasis on comics as a storytelling medium. Will Eisner has been drawing comics since God invented dirt and has explored almost every way a story can be told. One of his biggest contributions is using every element of the medium to tell the story. This book expounds heavilly on this.
Written years before Scott McCloud's "Understanding Comics," Eisner expounds upon how comics are a visual, reading experience using both words and pictures. He instructs the reader in how words and pictures can be used together to tell a story. The author must lead the reader with visual clues to each sequential immage. Mood, emotion, even time can be expressed visually in a comic. Camera angles, panel borders, typefaces, all play a part in the effectiveness of a story.
Eisner gives plenty of examples of his work to illustrate his ideas. Most significant are his "Hamlet," "Life on Another Planet," and several "Spirit" works. Looking at this really helps the reader see how creatively a story can be told.
Also included in this book are examinations of the various types of work a comic illustrator can do, including storyboards and instruction manuals.
This book, and its sequel "Graphic Storytelling," are must reading for anyone who wants to create comics, and good reading for anyone who wants to understand them better. Don't settle for mediocrity, read the best!
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5.0 out of 5 stars INDISPENSIBLE HOW-TO BOOK THAT REALLY STUDIES THE MEDIUM, Dec 23 2000
By 
Before this book came out, most "how to draw comics" books were mostly concentrated on big, muscular heroes and action poses. There was very little emphasis on comics as a storytelling medium. Will Eisner has been drawing comics since God invented dirt and has explored almost every way a story can be told. One of his biggest contributions is using every element of the medium to tell the story. This book expounds heavilly on this.
Written years before Scott McCloud's "Understanding Comics," Eisner expounds upon how comics are a visual, reading experience using both words and pictures. He instructs the reader in how words and pictures can be used together to tell a story. The author must lead the reader with visual clues to each sequential immage. Mood, emotion, even time can be expressed visually in a comic. Camera angles, panel borders, typefaces, all play a part in the effectiveness of a story.
Eisner gives plenty of examples of his work to illustrate his ideas. Most significant are his "Hamlet," "Life on Another Planet," and several "Spirit" works. Looking at this really helps the reader see how creatively a story can be told.
Also included in this book are examinations of the various types of work a comic illustrator can do, including storyboards and instruction manuals.
This book, and its sequel "Graphic Storytelling," are must reading for anyone who wants to create comics, and good reading for anyone who wants to understand them better. Don't settle for mediocrity, read the best!
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5.0 out of 5 stars A Comics Pro Gives It A Thumbs UP!, Jan. 28 2003
By 
D. Robertson (Napa, Ca) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
As a veteran comic book illustrator (You can find my work here on Amazon.com; I am the CO-creator and artist of Transmetropolitan), I am often asked to recommend books to aspiring professionals in comic book illustration. In that case I always enthusiastically recommend any of Eisner's instructional books as essential reading for anyone serious about their craft and dreams of getting into the industry.
From the earliest work of his career, Will Eisner was an innovator in writing as well as illustration. Even in his twilight years the man is still a vigorous and creative artist producing work that pros as well as fans can't wait to get their hands on.
These books display his genius in an entertaining and easy to follow method, and if put to practice will inspire and reveal hidden keys to making your work truly professional grade. A great companion book to Eisner's "Graphic Storytelling".
- Darick Roberston
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3.0 out of 5 stars More for the professional than the lay person, Aug. 2 2002
By 
Glen Engel Cox (Columbus, Ohio) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This is something of Will Eisner's lifework, the non-fiction complement to his wonderful work from the 1950s onward with _The Spirit_ through _A Contract with God_. Herein, Eisner describes the means by which his stories work, what makes them flow and live. Before Scott McCloud's _Understanding Comics_, Eisner was the standard bearer for the explanation of how comics achieved their effect. But this book never got the acclaim that McCloud's did, for it is not necessarily directed at the public, but at the would-be comics professional. In fact, most of the book is a reworking of Eisner's lecture notes from his teaching time at New York's School of Visual Art. The general public can still glean some great information about the medium from this book, but McCloud has supplanted Eisner as the popular textbook for courses on comics.
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Comics And Sequential Art
Comics And Sequential Art by Will Eisner (Paperback - Aug. 29 2008)
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